The first off week of the season allowed our staff to take a look at the other racing series that NASCAR has to offer; as such, they did a little ranking of some other drivers that the fans love to follow. Whether they are seasoned veterans in the waning years of their career, or young drivers who are trying to prove themselves, they were all considered for this poll of the best stock car driver without a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup Series. Check below to see if your budding superstar — or old favorite — made our list!
Despite the rain washing the track clean on Saturday, Sunday’s race — the second on Bristol’s new surface — seemed more competitive than the fall race last year. Is Bristol back after a brief hiatus? Or do teams just have a better handle on the new car?
Drivers from NASCAR’s top echelon have made almost exactly a third of the total available starts (58 of 172) in Nationwide races this year and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they’ve picked up all the prizes on offer so far. Tony Stewart (Daytona, California), Mark Martin (Vegas) and Matt Kenseth (Atlanta) have accounted for the wins while Stewart (Daytona), Jeff Burton (California, Atlanta) and Brian Vickers (Vegas) have vacuumed up the pole positions. For Martin, it was an all-time series best 48th victory, the next nearest being Kevin Harvick with 32 wins; for Kenseth it was win number 24, moving him into a tie for fifth place on the all-time wins list with Tommy Houston.
The old adage that the front of the pack is the safest place on the track did not hold true on Saturday. Mark Martin, chasing down the leaders with five laps to go, got into the back of Carl Edwards, taking out both Edwards and then-race leader Brad Keselowski to win his 48th career Nationwide Series race. Martin was subdued in Victory Lane, stating “I’ve got to apologize before we do any celebrating. I hate for that to happen. I didn’t intend for it to turn out that way. But I couldn’t stop it, once it started. I feel real bad for Brad, because he was so close to getting his first victory.” Nonetheless, Martin proclaimed himself honored to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and for giving JR Motorsports their first victory on the Nationwide Series tour.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the much-anticipated UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
A shove from the No. 22 car of Dave Blaney gave Jeff Gordon enough momentum to pass his teammate on the last lap. Tony Stewart appeared to inadvertently seal the deal for Gordon, running into the back of him and forcing Jimmie Johnson to settle for second.
1. Masterful Move – Jeff Gordon clearly demonstrated not only why he has 80 career Cup wins, but is now in sole possession of the title “most career plate wins” in NASCAR history. Gordon turned a push from Dave Blaney into a sweet move to the middle, getting out from behind teammate Jimmie Johnson to sneak away with the victory. Tucking his rear bumper just in front of a charging Tony Stewart, Gordon gave Stewart no choice but to push him to the win. Gordon now has 12 restrictor plate wins, passing the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., who had 11.
Sunday afternoon’s event was the first for the Car of Tomorrow at a restrictor plate track – but the race wasn’t as notable for the different type of car as it was for differing strategies. Last week, conserving fuel was on the agenda for Kansas; this time around, it was just downright going slow. That’s right, as slow as you possibly could without losing the draft.
Some drivers love the strategy involved in drafting – picking and choosing partners and lines while using airflow to their absolute advantage. Other drivers just don’t get it, and lament the loss of control over their own destiny that comes with having to rely on someone else to make moves ahead of them. And this time around, there’s an even bigger unknown; in particular, how the CoT will make its restrictor plate debut. All of this makes for a particularly tricky race when considering your fantasy picks, and even then, this is one where simply surviving will win out over skill. So, who will figure it out and get lucky? Because, in all honesty, it will probably take a little bit of both. Keep reading on to see who is worth the gamble and who needs to sit this one out in this week’s Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans…
When the Craftsman Truck Series takes the green flag Saturday evening at Gateway International Raceway, Kenny Wallace will make his return to the series after an 11-year absence. Wallace, set to run the No. 51 Flanders Provisions Co. Chevrolet for Billy Ballew, is the youngest of the Wallace brothers; one of just four families in series history to have three brothers compete. The Wallaces, the Greens, the Sauters and the Bodines have all left their mark on the series over time.